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School is almost out and summer reading is underway. I hope your workload is lighter during this time of year! It’s now time to start thinking about your personal and professional growth. And it’s time for my annual list of the best conferences for library marketers!

A good conference experience can be a life changer. It can energize you, give you new ideas, and make you fall in love with your chosen career again. If you have money in your budget to attend a conference, I recommend you chose one of the following selections. I’ve picked them based value for the cost, relevance of the topic, and reputation of the lead organizers.

 

VidCon

June 20-23 in Anaheim, CA

My husband works for a non-profit hospital as a videographer and he attends this conference. He learns about social media, video, and other marketing tactics from some of the top content creators in the marketing industry. If you are want to bring young people into your library or connect with them (I’m talking to you, university and school librarians!) then this conference is for you. And tickets are pretty cheap–the creator pass is $200 through June 8.

American Library Association

June 21-26 in New Orleans, LA

ALA continues to improve the marketing track at their premier conference. Topics this year include branding, marketing to teenagers, serving the immigrant population, creating a marketing plan and strategy, best practices for video marketing, and much more. This year’s keynote speakers include Viola Davis and Doris Kearns Goodwin. I also have it on high authority that Emilio Estevez will appear at the conference to hold screenings of his new movie, the public, shot in my very own library–which means that attendees will get to see it before I do! ALA members pay $350 and non-members pay $460 through June 15.

Nonprofit Marketing Conference

July 16-18 in Washington, DC

With sessions from the leaders of Google Ad Grants and Caring Bridge, this conference is informative and inspiring. It’s run the American Marketing Association. It will teach you how to use your small budget and limited resources to create a brand strategy. You’ll also learn how to improve your social media game and show the true value of your library in your marketing. After the conference, you’ll get an eBook with key takeaways to refer to the rest of the year. Registration is $949 but if you register before June 18, you save $100.

Social Media All Day Conference

July 19-20 in Charleston, South Carolina

Forbes calls this “the most collaborative social media conference.” The speaker list includes experts from food, fashion, journalism, and tech. Sessions promise to teach you how to engage audiences and create lasting connections with people. You’ll also learn how to build your brand on social, both for your library and for yourself! I recommend getting the Industry Badge, which is still a steal at $300. That gets you access to all the conference areas as well workshops and networking sessions.

Content Marketing World and Expo

September 4-7 in Cleveland, Ohio

Regular readers know how much I love this conference. I’ll be attending for the fifth time this year. CMWorld is a jam-packed series of events for marketers of all levels and interests. I come home with pages of notes and new ideas. This conference focuses on the art of storytelling and how to use content to build trust with your customers. But they also have sessions on video marketing, social media, strategy, and public speaking. You’ll learn a full range of new skills. Tina Fey is the keynote speaker this year, as are Andrew and Pete, my favorite marketing video creators from the UK. Early bird registration ends May 31 but if you email the conference, they can give you a 40 percent non-profit discount, which makes the ticket around $800. I know that’s a lot of money for libraries but it is so worth it.

Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

Oct. 16-17 in Orlando, FL

This conference is jam-packed with sessions that will help you turn your library’s story into a marketing strategy. You’ll learn how to write a compelling headline for your email newsletter and how to use Facebook live to raising the profile of your library. All the sessions are recorded, so if you can’t actually travel to Florida you can still “attend” the conference via video. Registration ranges in price from $995 to $1595 depending on which option you choose (video or no video) but if you register before July 13, you save $400, which puts it into the affordable range for many libraries.

Library Marketing and Communications Conference

November 14-15 in St. Louis, Missouri

The premier conference for library marketing moves to a new location this year and the organizers are energized! This is the fourth year for this conference specifically created to talk about marketing in the library space and the range of topics now includes all areas of the field, including fundraising, governmental advocacy, graphic design, workflow, and so much more. Plus networking with other library marketing professionals is invaluable! Registration begins this month (May). If you register before Friday, July 13, you’ll only pay $375. The full conference rate will be $450. They’re also taking calls for proposals through May 25. Sign up for the newsletter on the conference website to stay up to date with all the details.

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